CPTSD: Emotional neglect in matters human female sexuality

*Post publishing note: I wrote and published this post on the 18th of September, 2020, though didn’t share it on socials. Even so, I ought to have stayed with it A LOT longer. First, the title had a typo, my apologies for that. Even so, it’s since changed. Secondly, I needed to go do another round of unpacking for this to be a complete piece. A LOT of things have shifted, but the theme remains. The last edit was done on the 28th of September, 2020

Now I state, this here, is for women like me. It’s perfectly fine if you can’t relate.

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*I am not a medical or mental health practitioner and thus my thoughts or experience should not be used for diagnostic purposes.

The therapy session

*long anecdote alert! You can skip to the next title if you wish to.

And then there was COVID-19. After it became official how screwed we were, and still are, I nearly celebrated at the idea of constantly being indoors. Being an introvert and depressed is an interesting mix. I had gone to the CBD at most 5 times between December 2019 and March 2020. I had my last therapy session in December. I felt I had a lot under control.

* insert procrastination, misappropriation of my few funds, rebounds, spiraling, anxiety attacks, unexplained anger, and moods, putting your foot in your mouth and having an out-of-body experience while doing it, drunkenness….*

Since April, I have had frequent anxiety attacks. Only three instances turned into full-blown panic attacks. You know, clutching my chest, breathing hard, trying not to sink to the floor because, as I was telling myself, this is not a movie type of thing. Laying on the bed or couch was enough. A week ago, after the anxiety was beginning to look like a new normal where insomnia, heavy breathing, gloom, and doom were the following in tow, I realized it was time to book a session.

Yes, I did have an anxiety attack during the session, and because I am smart and didn’t want to be in my house alone, I headed to my folks’, where I proceeded to have another attack in front of my younger brother. In short, I realized that while I had dealt with a lot in the past few years, A LOT of underlying issues remained.

This blog is unpacking one of them.

Female sexuality.

CPTSD- Ati what?

Complex Post Traumatic Disorder. I am not sure where I saw it first, it might be here in this video from The School of Life. What surprised me was learning the term first appeared in 1994. As I was watching the video, I ticked more than eight of the twelve signs of CPTSD, and that got me thinking that, you, sweetheart, have a lot of trauma in your body.

In short, based on the Healthline definition,CPTSD results from repeated trauma over months or years, rather than a single event.” The symptoms are many, you can check them out on the links provided and perhaps venture to depress yourself before you start your healing journey. Just a few examples is lack of emotional regulation, negative self-perception, losing meaning of the world and religion, and difficulty in relationships.

Here’s why it matters. To quote Healthline, it leaves a lasting effect on the “amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These areas play a big role in both our memory function and how we respond to stressful situations”

HOWEVER! For the basis of this blog, I’ll focus on the symptom of ongoing childhood neglect. In my understanding, not having conversations about sex et al with girls and addressing their emotions around it is a form of emotional neglect.

*Emotional neglect is when a parent, guardian, or caregiver refuses or fails to see, know, or understand who their child is. Instead, they project the idea they have in their mind of who the child is onto them. In some cases, there will be a lack of care, attention, structure, boundaries, or even rules.

By the way: I am not here to bash my parents. We are in a good place and we have unpacked a lot of these things. They too have trauma of their own, so this is not an ode to their parenting failure. We millennials do that so well…

So how does that tie into the female sexuality?

Here’s the direction we’re taking: The prevailing picture is that bringing up girls in an inconvenience, and their sexuality reduced to a single line of thought; keep your legs closed, wait till marriage, and give it to your husband when he asks for. As though that’s all there is to female sexuality. That’s not seeing girls for who they are, that is projecting a distorted image of what it means to be born female onto them.

That itself, raises women who 1) don’t know much about their body or understand their sexuality and preference 2) are emotionally charged when it comes to what’s between their legs because it feels like it’s under constant scrutiny or threat and 3) carry a ton of painful emotions about all this from the moment, as children, they understood they were female.

That’s, I feel is CPTSD. But don’t quote me.

Class is not in session

I won’t get into the stats or the percentage of women who’ve been sexual abused on this planet. If you’re unsure, hit up nine women in your contact list and ask them if they’ve experienced abuse, or almost, or if they know someone close to them who’s a survivor, or who would otherwise have been.

This campaign for the boy-child exhausts me when we see headlines along the lines of “X number of primary and secondary going girls pregnant in Y county”. Here’s why this thing just does a number on me. There’s a girl who learned she was six months pregnant from a test after being forced to go to the hospital. This was despite having unprotected sex and her belly protruding.

And that is the problem. Who was there to teach her? Who taught/teaches us?

While there are a TON of people in this here planet dealing with emotional neglect (educate yourself here), there is still the fact that sex is so taboo for women that we’re not even sure what is going on. Our thoughts and emotions around it have been silenced. You can talk about it, but in hushed tones. And make sure you’re putting a lot of that energy finding ways to keep your vagina husband-ready.

I won’t even get into the biblical and social context. If you’d wish to, there’s one SUPER informative person I know that can at least help you with relationships and also sex. Pastor Michael Todd is all about Relation Ship Goals Reloaded in this series, but you can focus on the ones where he talks about sex for a better biblical picture.

But yo, I had to learn a lot about sex and Christianity, and what it does to your soul, spirit, mind, body, finances, all that and more, from YOUTUBE?

Sexual misinformation- why is the emotional truth hidden?

If you’re a woman reading this, pause and think about what your first introduction to sex was. To physical intimacy or awareness of it. Did your mum teach you? Your aunt? A close female member in your life? When is too soon to tell your daughter? Was your sexuality even ever acknowledged? Did you feel you had a welcoming and safe space to ask all the questions you could about your body and sex? What about your feelings? And you were abused, were you accorded the space to talk about it?

There was a thread on twitter, I can’t remember the hashtag, but it was asking women when they first realized they were sexualized. The average age was between 9 years and 11 years. CAN WE PAUSE AND MARINADED IN HOW MESSED UP THAT IS?

Let’s focus on how, an innocent or naive girl or woman, gets to experience a full range of confusing emotions after sex, consensual or otherwise. For a lot of women, I feel, disappointment and disgust are the prevailing emotions after having sex for the first time.

Now think back to the aspect of childhood neglect, and emotional neglect. If you knew what you know now (assuming you’ve evolved), would you have done it differently? (But also let’s be real here, some of us are just hard-headed). But for the most part, what we have is a distorted image of who we are as women, and our sexuality. And with all that, since childhood, our emotions around this topic was not allowed or acknowledged.

No, for real, why is class not in session?

In a nutshell, we are thrown into society and religion and asked to wait until marriage and not to be a whore. That’s while 1 in 3 women on this planet has been sexually abused or assaulted. But please, let’s not address those difficult emotions for too long. #MeToo should still be in the public consciousness until this nonsense gets solved

We also haven’t talked about unfortunate experiences with fuckbois and other men, and even women, who exploited us. AH YES! And sweet, sweet Hollywood. Ati your first night will be one filled with love, candles, and passionate sex. When it doesn’t go that way, it shatters this distorted image we had about sex as kids, and just leaves you messed up as a woman.

As mothers, daughters, aunts, and the like, we need to make this more of a conversation than we are willing to. We need to stop and see how childhood emotional neglect in matters of sexuality, is affecting us and generations to come. And here’s my point, we need to have a fuller conversation about sex because as women, talking about sex and leaving out emotion and how to deal with them leaves trauma in our bodies. And given how long it goes for, that’s where, for me, complex post traumatic stress disorder comes in.

How do I deal with CPTSD from sexual experiences

Trauma takes many forms, and for a lot of women, it is the realization that the look in a lot of men’s eyes, from a young age, harbors no security. It tells them that they are no more than an item of sexual desire. There is also the constant vigilance of trying to go around life and not getting sexually abused, whether or not one succeeds. Going through that, constantly and continually for many years, is CPTSD.

So, how do you heal from that?

I don’t know. Ask a licensed therapist. 🙂

Here’s where’s what my advice is. As a woman, stop and acknowledge that you hold trauma in your body, and psyche too.

This is hard, but hold space for yourself to unpack, mourn, and heal. You’d be surprised how much of yourself is stuck because of this.

So heal, my sister.

Cheers.

5 signs he’s is faking vulnerability: Lessons learned from previous relationships and entanglements

Conclusion: If his emotions mimic constipation, then he’s faking it.

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You know that friend you talk abstract things with? Nyambura is that person. Our demons met and we’ve been friends since. We have hour long conversations about healing childhood trauma, the inner child and everything in between. Heck, she’s even gotten me to do a meditation challenge that I haven’t been religious at. In essence, we all need one of these friends in life- that is not an opinion but a fact. But who am I to tell you how to live your life?

Here’s my argument. She recently brought to my attention fake vulnerability and it made me feel some typa way because I have fallen prey to it. I otherwise wouldn’t have known about it if she hadn’t brought it up.

This post might trigger you.

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I wrote the above because I found the circumstances hilarious. Said person wasn’t a Facebook friend at the time, but even when I accepted their request, I knew the post would bring problems. Yes, that conversation happened and he KNEW it was about him. He copy-pasted it and brought it right to my WhatsApp, accompanied with 10,000 “what the fucks?” I liked this guy at the time (I am lying here, that was my dysfunction operating) so I did all I could to appease him.  I am using “appease” loosely because I stuck by the post.

It looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, so I called it what it is.

I told the lie of the century and “assured” this boychild I would never post anything about him on social media or my blog.

LOL!

If you are trying to describe what a duck is, you’d do well to show an actual duck, or a couple of ducks in this case.

Signs he’s is faking vulnerability

  1. There’s ALWAYS a catch

There was this one guy who would ghost me for most of the week. Guess when he’d hit me up? Yes, Saturday at 11:59pm. I was foolish and dickmatized, so I would respond . Mum, dad, I am sorry, but your daughter done messed up a LOT. You’d be happy to know that I have since changed my ways. Shame and judgement aside, the script was the same. I would rant about being ignored all week, he’d apologize with some long emotional commentary about how he’s been going through a lot, and I would forgive him.

And repeat.

In my mind I thought “he just needs love and understanding”, him and all the other fuck boys.

Baby girl, if you’re still telling yourself that, you’re the clown.

That’s the thing about fake vulnerability. There’s always a catch. It’s either to get you into bed or- nope. It is almost always to get you into bed.

2. You make excuses for them

There’s a boychild I dated for a year, and my goodness. Now this one I should have date for at most a month, but you know, I was a ride or until you fuck up my emotional, psychological and mental health kind of chick. Communication is non-negotiable in relationships but he’d ghost me for days at a time.

Do you see a theme ladies?

He’d resurface and talk about how work was intense and proceed to tell me how amazing his female boss is. I’ll let you run away with that thought. The bone he’d through was “I haven’t been confirmed yet” because new job so I’d tell myself his silence is justified. What’s more, he’d told me about growing up poor, and how he’d buy an extra Nivea lotion to affirm to himself that part of his life is over. He might have mentioned something about his inability to say no, going above and beyond his duties, troubles at home… You know, that hustle-out-of-poverty narrative and coming from a dysfunctional-ish family.

Here’s the issue. When we were together, he’d spend a lot of time Twitter. He’d also randomly send bathroom selfies when at work. Clearly he had pockets of time but he wouldn’t call or text. Note, this is a boychild that came to see me when I was in a psychiatric ward. By the way, that shit never came up again. Checking up on your emotional and mental health ni wewe. More on this later.

You’ve read all that and you’re now wondering what’s wrong with me. That’s a post for another day. But baby girl, if you’re defending that misbehaving boychild based on some sob story he told you about himself, there’s a problem.

PS: I spent two of my birthdays with this guy and he did NOTHING for me. No cake, no date, no gift. Zero. Never mind I did that for his ass. My goodness I have wasted my money and time on some problematic characters. Weh! Stay woke ladies.

3. You feel like you’re the problem

This one pretty much sums up all my previous relationship. Apart from one. I’d name him, but his girlfriend hates me. We even have a code word he uses when he can’t text or call back because she’s around. I don’t know what I did to her, but he and I will love each other till the sun stops shining. In a platonic way though. I’ve also moved on since so… I don’t know why that was important to mention. We don’t even talk no more! Sigh.

THAT ASIDE, in every relationship, I felt or was made to feel I was the problem. I was the overly emotional one. I was too demanding. It was my fault things weren’t working out. I was too intense. I was too independent. I didn’t understand them. I was selfish. I was irrational. Basically everything wrong with the relationship was my fault.

I am aware I haven’t been the easiest person to date before, but EVERYTHING being my fault? Get the hell out of here with those lies. How does that painful story you told me when being “vulnerable” justify your mannerless behavior? Fam. Miss me oo! Miss me!

4. They demonize their exs

Baby girl, you know this script.

There’s this boychild that reached out to me after things went south with the wife. Traditional wedding, one child later and another on the way, she left and went back to her folks. This guy had A LOT to say about her including how he feels the relationship ended a long time ago, he was merely there for the sake of it.

Spoiler: they got back together.

So while I was over here being sent love songs and getting told how much I’m loved, things were in the works to restore the relationship. Guess who was looking like the home wrecker? It is fine, I will take that L because I was foolish enough to believe his lies. Lies, current truth, potato potato. Thank goodness that was only a one month ordeal. But that’s the thing girl, he has nothing nice to say about his previous girlfriends. You, being the kind-hearted, caring and sympathetic person you are, you feed off the bullshit. He’s misunderstood and “you get him”.

Weh, these regrets are coming in heavy!

5. They manipulate you

Manipulation is the weapon people who fake vulnerability use. Someone (every magazine ever) told men that women love men who are open about their emotions. We want to know how they feel and what they are thinking.

With that knowledge, a guy will display a bit of emotion to get you to open your heart. From that space, you become trusting and you’re more than happy to give him what he wants. Here’s the painful part. Once he’s gotten whatever it is, he shuts down. That’s the last of his emotions you’ll see. You’ll trying bring it up but he’ll ignore or shut you down. That part you experienced only comes back when he feels he’s losing you or wants something.

It’s basically emotion-on-demand and manipulation is the route because he knows he doesn’t deserve what he’s about to ask for.

If you’re still unsure if he’s faking his sob stories, there’s the mother of all tell-tale signs.

YOUR EMOTIONAL VULNERABILITY IS IGNORED.

Pause for a bit.

Remember that guy who came to see me in a psych ward TWICE and never followed up on what got me there, how the meds were taking me and how I was doing? In hindsight, my therapist saw his bullshit from an eternity away- explains some statements she made LOL! That’s the thing about such guys; you will share the most intimate parts of yourself and get ZERO emotional support in return. The bottom line is you’ll regret ever opening up.

Bonus: morons will make excuses for guys who fake vulnerability

This last one is for gas lighters. Let me Wikipedia the definition for you.

“Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them, cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem.”

So, don’t come at me with the “you read that wrong”, “have you looked at how you might have been the problem?” and “who hurt you?” type of talk. I never claimed to be perfect, I just know when I’ve been emotionally played.

Baby girl, you’re not the problem

Girl, lady, woman. I am talking to your inner child now. You missed all these signs and ended up allowing and tolerating such crap in your life. I am sorry for the pain it caused. I understand how much it hurts, and how bitterness feels like the reasonable and justified route to take. Don’t go down that road. Let your next steps be to heal, and most of all forgive and soak yourself in love. You’re not foolish, you were just unknowingly a player in a rigged game.

When you know better, you do better.

Cheers.

3rd Floor: “So, what have you done with your life so far?”

30. Third floor. Dirty 30. Whatever you call it, I am staring at it.

I opted to write about this now to get ahead of “the problem”. Here’s why; on my birthday (October 16th) I want to look back at this post and exhale. I don’t want NONE of the social pressure of “where is your” husband, child, home, car, education and everything in between. I want to wear these top five lessons from my 20’s like badges of honor. Or tiny stickers. 30 is not 90.

I want to applaud myself, especially as we come to the close of Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme speaks to my soul: Tools 2 Thrive, something we truly require with this pandemic. COVID-19 may be with us for a while, and adding that to the shit-storm life can be, minding our mental health is all the more crucial.

Let’s get to it!

Lessons from my 20s

Let me stop you right there. If you have anything important pending, go do that now and come back. You’ll be here a while.

Lesson 1: I have been dumb as hell!

That’s the thing about your 20s though. You’re out of high school, and with little-to-no guidance, you’re told to chart your whole life. You pick a course you think will suit you, only for you to graduate and go “nope, that ain’t it!” After, you go do something totally unrelated. Blessed are yee if you’re still on the same path!

And since your name is not on the 30 under 30 list of people who have their shit in order, you’ll be clueless for a while. But god forbid your peers AND parents find out! So, there you are, struggling with the purpose of it all while life is still happening to you. Since multitasking is not something everyone is excellent at, you drop A LOT of balls, sanity being one of them.

How, you ask? Have you done the same shit over and over again and expected different results? Yes? You are dumb as hell. Naïve at best, but still, not a reason for ignorance! For example, staying in the same job, house, relationship, friendship, deal, mentality, pattern and everything in between hoping things will get better one day. How’s that going?

Falling Apart GIFs | Tenor

Complaining had once been a talent of mine. Still can be. But nowadays, if I complain about the same thing more than twice (or ten, depends), I check out. I kill and bury you in my mind. I forget about you, or it. I move on. I becoming indifferent. Staki ujinga. Why? Because I am tired of being a mjinga also. Stupidity is not a sexy trait oo!

Lesson 2: Lack of mentorship is a pandemic

If I gave you a box of colored chalk and a clown’s wig, who would you put it on? Apart from yourself that is..

Clown Makeup Meme | Saubhaya Makeup

Yes, a majority of our leaders.

My goodness; there is no greater sign of a problematic population than the type of leaders we have. Good leaders are the exception, not the rule. Let’s not even go too far; look at your circle.

I knew leadership was an issue the day my mother mentioned she wished she had someone to guide her right out of high school. Whatever she did worked for her- at the time. However, the pile of interior design magazines on her shelf tell another story.

She did her best, especially with my spirituality, but she didn’t have a career guide, so, how could she fill the role for my sake? Like every African parent she was all about education and making my own money. Her brand of gospel was Money Before Husband, let alone kids. For her and many other African mothers, financial independence is the message she hammered home. However, it was the streets of life and Google that taught me the HOW of attaining financial freedom. And even so, it’s still a struggle.

This is one example. How many of you had to figure life out by yourself? You were told, “Here! Go do life!” and given no tools or even a vague manual to help you through. We lack adequate mentorship in our society. Is there anyone you can truly call ‘an experienced or trusted advisor?” Can you name two? What of the leaders; what have you learned from them?

I have a rule of thumb- consider using it before you run off to look for mentors or advice from leaders, far or near.

Never take advise from someone you wouldn’t want to trade lives with.

Unless it’s a life lesson. So, I am not talking about the fame, glamour, wealth, cash. Look deeper. Which takes me to the next lesson.

Lesson 3: The world can be shallow to depths deeper than an abyss

As a member of this our planet earth, I too have been and can be shallower than water spilled on a table. But we soldier on.

I am turning 30 and there is a lot on the list of what a “standard” woman ought to achieve that I haven’t checked off. And guess what? I. DON’T. GIVE. A. SHIT.

Opinion Throw GIF - Opinion Throw Trash GIFs

Two things brought me to this realization.

The first was how other families perceived ours growing up. Cousin after cousin said they have envied us. Others wondered what was wrong with me. You ungrateful bitch, why you acting like you life is hard? If you’ve lived with other people, then you know it’s hard. Money doesn’t make human interactions easier or even pure. I am not bashing my folks or siblings, but it is what it is. The consensus is that I am moody and difficult. But that can’t be because of a mood disorder. I mean, isn’t money meant to cure that too?

NB: As Maureen Wambaire I am broke. The idea that I somehow have access to Mr. Kingori’s money and wealth is the schupidest assumption I have come across. Do you know my father?

Second thing that opened my eyes to the shallowness is all the miserable “I have made it” people I came and still across.  Here’s how I see it- I don’t care for your money or status. If you have a trash personality and questionable character, please keep walking. Better yet, let me change direction. I don’t want you in my sphere.

It makes no sense to me to look up to, and want to be like, broken and burst individuals. I am talking about the ones that do nothing to work on their inner world. People who don’t want to know better and those who know better but refuse to get better. Those who can’t admit they need help and instead choose to keep this cycle of shallowness going. There is more to life than money, glamor, fame, admiration, privilege and all that.   

See that attitude, I think that’s why I am alone. But what have I learned?

Lesson 4: Single and content than paired and miserable ANY DAY.

*I am not talking to married people.  

A moment of silence for all the dead minutes resulting from relationships I knew where going nowhere.

Were there life lessons? Yes. Could I have followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and remained single? YES. If I had, would I have spared boychild the crisis and realization that I wasn’t it for them? Absolutely. This is not only for myself. I understand the need for companionship- there’s currently two men I am looking at and wondering… just wondering. Beyond that, it’s probably the COVID-19 curfew bothering me.

Holly Logan Comedian GIF - HollyLogan Comedian Comic GIFs

I’ve looked at my life. I have looked at that of my clan, friends and acquittances. I have heard stories, and I have seen it on the news. And if that’s what relationships are all about, I would rather be single. I WOULD RATHER DIE SINGLE.

No, no, no. No. Go back and read those bold letters again.

Coz sis! Bruh!

Before you bring up the biological clock narrative, I suggest you go read an article or several on the statistics and life-long effects of childhood trauma. After, please, miss me with that bullshit. I would rather not birth a child instead of bringing them into a world with a partner not committed to be a better husband, father, and human being. I know I’m doing the work, meaning that my child would go through a lot less therapy.

Allow me to take you back to this Letter to My Sisters because the boychild done been messing up. For me, it’s simple. The measure of misery you subject yourself to in a relationship, is the level in which you loath yourself. Yes, self-loathing is a thing. If you wouldn’t want the current drama and trauma you have in your relationship for someone you love dearly, what are you doing there? You can to better like Michelle and Barak Obama type love!

I am single, peaceful, content, and keep forgetting I own a mobile phone. And I am totally fine with that.

Lesson 5: Take the trash out instead of playing victim

I talk extensively about self-development and personal growth on my blog. Well, maybe not directly, but I do talk about life lessons (case in point) and mental health, because it’s been rough out here. One such example is this post about Minding Your Emotional Business and this one about how people can’t make you “feel” anything, that’s all you. I got tired of blaming others because, well, it was pointless.

I generally write about taking personal responsibility for our lives and the quality of the same. We don’t ask for the trauma, but staying in it is a choice. A perfect example- when I complain about someone for long periods of time, it no longer a “them” problem but a “me” problem. If you have nothing nice to say about your partner, you’re the problem. If you’re complaining about something you can’t change, you’re the problem. There’s always something that can be done internally and externally.

I have such a level of peace and contentment since I went spring cleaning and took out the “trash”. Any hint of a return of the mess I left behind will for sure trigger Ragnarök. It was hard, took a couple of months, and in some cases years, but playing victim didn’t what to be my only option. The path to inner growth is painful and messy, but I PROMISE you, when you start, so many parts of you begin to heal. It’s so worth it. AGAIN! Took me awhile, but I accept it too is a lifelong journey.

Parting shot from this soon to be 30-year-old

That was legit some Biko Zulu length type of blog, but it needed to get said, at least for myself. Stopping to take stock and appreciating how far you’ve come is the source of gratitude. Where you’ve failed, extend grace and love, because that too is part of being human. Lastly, life isn’t one long checklist; it is about being present in every moment, because that’s where life happens. Not in the past, nor the future, but in the now.

THIRD FLOOR, HERE WE COME!

Cheers

Bonus reading: Change the bulb

Before starting this blog, I replaced the third bulb on the chandelier. The other two did produce adequate light to grab things from the drawers and not have furniture assault your pinky toe. However, since I turned the dining table into my office space, night-owling has been a struggle. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I noticed my left eye hurts and the right one was still seeing stars from the strain and sudden illumination from the new bulb. I could have replaced that bulb months ago, but if you ask what took me so long, I couldn’t tell you why. I’m happy though that I finally did.

Food for thought: If something in your life feels like an inconvenience or struggle, ask yourself, “Do I need to replace a bulb?”

Sis, fuck him!

*girl, not in the literal sense

If you don’t have people in your life that call you out, you don’t have friends.

Nyams, this is for you.

~~~~~

In real life I’m animated, I changed voices, characters and curse like Pirates was based on my life. I exaggerate, but I curse more than you’d want that aunt in your life to around your kids. Am I proud? No. Should I stop? Probably. How’s that going? It’s at the bottom of things to work on in my life. Iza jo.

I am sarcastic, opinionated, and my face has a problem hiding any nonsense I’m processing at any given time. In another life my dad would have killed me, my mother had me tied to the altar for exorcism. One brother calls me difficult, the other says I am a ticking timebomb.

Wait. Pole. Sorry. You thought I was gonna say how I’m an amazing human being?

My bad, lemme get to that. Haya. One thing is true about me. Like you, I don’t wake up looking to be an ass or flawed. But here we are. I know I love deeply, come through for those I love, speak truth (manze this one has gotten me into trouble), go out of my way, fight for truth, etc. etc. though that’s not the point of this post.

But that hasn’t always been the case. Some asshole along the way made me feel like I am not worth of shit in my life. Not love, not the best. But through the help of strong women in my life like Doreen, Portia and Nyams, here I am, aware that I’m a fucking catch.

~~~~~

I’ve been taking stock of my past relationships as my therapist would have me, and apart from djkajdjw (ulipenda udaku hey?!) the rest had one thing in common; hiding me.

You’re allowed to pause and process that.

There’s a number whom have introduced me to their mother, but after the last one, I realized a man introducing you to their mother/family means NOTHING. If you’re reading this and you’re shocked, pole sana. But it’s true. It’s one thing for a man to love you how you want and deserved to be loved, and another for him to show his family the ideal woman and then go off and act single.

There’s a couple of things I want to address from my unfiltered experience.

1. Sis, you always know. They’ve just made you doubt and censor your gut. You know if he’s the one, if he’ll love and treat you right, if he’ll cheat, if he’ll make you a priority, if he’ll meet your expectations. YOU KNOW. I don’t know the science but I believe women have been fitted with a stronger gut than men- so we know. “Omg I can believe he’d do that to me?!” But sis, you snatched him from his ex. Heeellloooooo!!!

2. If he wants you, you’ll know.

Sorry. What is meant to say was, IF HE WANTS YOU, YOU’LL KNOW.

If you’re questioning if he likes you, sis, move the fuck on. And I’m not talking about insecurities for “oh but why would he like me?”

Side bar: If you ever feel unworthy of a man’s affection, call yourself for several meetings. Google ‘efffects of low self esteem’ if you have to. Coz sis, he’ll turn you into a door mat. He’ll turn you into a disposable piece of shit, of which you aren’t. If you lucky, he’ll build you by telling you that you’re a queen, but such men are HELLA rare, and likely not the one you’re with right now.

I’m talking about you questioning your worth when you’re with a man. I’d you ever get there, Google “how to love myself” coz the heartbreak you’re about to experience, woi! It’s not worth it. Being with a man for the sake of society and forsaking what you need is foooollliiiissshhh. Dying alone in peace btw is not that bad. If your issue is sex I can recommend a site. Just saying.

~~~~~

PSA

Fuck all the men that make you feel less than. Fuck all the men that make you feel that choosing you is a favor. Fuck all men that promise heaven and give you a pinpop. Fuck all the men that say they’ll call back and don’t. Fuck all the men that go quiet and text you when they are bored. Fuck all the men that date you because they want what’s between your legs. Fuck all the men that won’t be emotionally vulnerable with you. Fuck all the men that make you feel less than. Fuck all the men that make you look crazy when you tap into your gut. Fuck all the men that don’t put you first.

Pause and add your “Fuck all the men…” quote. Get it out of your system.

Fuck any man that’s EVER made you feel less than .

Ffuuuuckkkkk ttthheeeemmmm.

~~~~~

In other news, there are good men out there. And here’s how you attract them- raise and keep your standard up.

Before you rejoice, if you have a rubbish personality and everything in between, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the women that spend days and hours on self improvement.

Once your fear of being alone leaves you, you’ll be at peace and in a better place to attract the remaining men that ask, “where are the good women at?”

~~~~~

Today’s blog has been brought to you by the word “fuck”, my inner work, and the conviction that I deserve love. And so do you, sister.

Cheers

Minding Your Own Emotional Business

I was going through something, and I remember stopping and thinking, “mind your own emotional business.” By the time your mind is dropping intellectual bombs on you randomly, even it’s tired of your bullshit.

So here, I am going to explore the idea further. Hopefully, we will come out of this quarantine with even a tiny improvement in our emotional health.

~~~~~

If you’ve interacted with me during these times of COVID-19 and curfews, you know I am NOT qualified to speak on this from an “I am better than you” standpoint. So, don’t feel free to drop me a message about potential hypocrisy. Between the excessive drinking (WHO called it), questionable life choices, breakdowns, tears, and fights, it hit me I needed to get back to minding my own emotional business and running a tight ship.

Now, your issues don’t look like mine. If anything, you are probably more well put together. Logically, you’d wonder what this mess has to say to you. Well, let’s take a walk, shall we?

~~~~~~

I’ve learned A LOT during this journey with mental illness. You don’t have to have it, but there are universal truths we can explore. So here’s the five-step program I’m using to mind my emotional business.

Step 1: Can you address your denial, please?

If you ever think or even say out loud, “you made me feel-” to xyz, please. Stop. Just. Stop. Is the person in your neural pathways sparking off the chemicals producing the adverse reaction you’re having?

ARE THEY??!!!!

(I don’t know if that’s how it all works, and I can’t be bothered to research, but you get my point)

Nowadays I spot, address, flip, and expel any negative emotions toward another person quite fast. Are we good at this? No. But have I stopped sending people long messages and being passive-aggressive? Mostly. Have I known to love people from afar? Corona and quarantine are helping me perfect this art.

You can get upset, want to snatch someone’s weave, and ask yourself out loud, “Is this human being stupid?” What I’m talking about is the act itself of holding on to a negative emotion for longer than is necessary. Here is a cool infographic you can consider using when starting the process. Thanks for sharing Nyams!

Marc Brackett. PhD

In short, call yourself for as many meetings as you can until it’s out of your system. The focus shouldn’t be on how much someone triggered/ triggers us; it’s we who ought to deal with the emotions within us. So, please, let’s not delegate emotions and subject others to bad moods, short texts, and blue ticks. I am talking to you, Maureen Wambaire King`ori.

PS: Looking at the phone ring is quite alright. Consider taking a time out, especially when you’re not feeling alright emotionally. I am all for having close friends, family, and partners to help us through difficult emotions, but again, that’s a form of delegation. Ponder and calibrate, then when you get stuck, ask for guidance. Thanks, Doreen, for the lesson.

Step 2: READ.

Like, yo. Why do I have to say this, and it’s 2020??

You know what, open an incognito tab. Search what brings about people pleasing, why you have a hard time saying no, why you feel a coldness towards your parents, why you hate your job- you get the point. There’s a ton of information online written by professionals who will shed light on the inner workings of your subconscious mind where all the murk is hidden.

The reason I’m insisting on this is because demons come out to play. You can dress it up, money it up, success it up, but your demons always show. Slay them one at a time, and release yourself (and us) from it. I’ve hurt and pushed away people I loved and vice versa. If I’d started the inner work much sooner, life would be a lot different.

Step 3. ASK. FOR. HELP.

I can’t credit everything to my “seeing the light” and starting the journey. God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, my mother, Doreen and Portia (my dear, dear friends) where all part of it. Other friends too- don’t come catching for me, please. So were an uncle and aunt who are like my guardian angels because they came through when I needed the most support. And I’ll finish this salamuz segment with acknowledging the mental health professionals who’ve been with me along the way too.

Step 4. Take care of your body

I breath heavy these days. That ish is NOT sexy. I sound like I ran a marathon. And what is diet? This is good advice; I’ll take it for myself too. Maybe I can make it through a Sun Salutation A today without collapsing. Gee!

Step 5. Accept it’s a lifelong commitment

You’ll be dealing with your emotions till death.

Pause, go back one line, reread.

Yea. So why not focus on minding that emotional business of yours? Like now?

~~~~~~

Life can be simple when you figure out how to manage emotions, especially those causing distress. I’m also realizing they are not who I am; if anything, they are getting in the way of the ME.

Cheers

To whom it may concern: Here’s what mood disorders are about.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health medical practitioner; therefore, kindly do not use this content for diagnostic purposes. It is strictly for informational purposes. I write as someone affected by a mood disorder, who’s done a ton of research, and a counseling psychology student.

Why I am writing this

If you have a mood disorder, feel free to share this with your peers. I came to realize that people still don’t get what mood disorders are. Reference points are13 Reasons Why and Netflix series with high school teens. The media tends to depict extremes; Joker and every disturbed character ever, all shows with a psychiatrist, a person on a sofa, and the question “how does that make you feel?”

I am writing this because the messaging I’ve been getting is that 1) I am overreacting. I should cheer up because I tick social boxes of basic needs, family, friends, and a job. 2) I am ungrateful. I ticked boxes, and on top of that, I have parents who foot my medical bills. So what am I complaining about? 3) I am moody for no reason. Well, it’s a mood disorder. It is an illness. We don’t tell a person with diabetes,  Down Syndrome, or asthma to chill out. Why do you ask me to do the same?

I am misunderstood and frustrated.

I’ll circle back to this at the end.

~~~~~

What is a mood disorder?

So, here, I have to come through with a medical definition; this one is from Mayo Clinic of what a mood disorder is.

“A mental health disorder is characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.”

The thing about mood disorders is that several things cause them. It could be biological. If your mother/father has a mental illness, you’re likely to get it as well. It could also be having two schizophrenic siblings in one family because the genetic lottery was not kind. Here, you “inherit” the disorder. Otherwise, something could have gone wrong either as a result of injury or a mutation.

The other is psychological, and this one is loaded. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can all go under psychological causes because they ultimately affect your mind.

Physical abuse and neglect: If you’ve gotten a beat down at any one point of your life, then you can understand how that could bring lasting trauma. How do you even trust a world when, in your early years, you were shown that security and love is a rumor? With stress hormones on overdrive 24/7, how do you even function? And with this one, it’s inter-generational. It’s how you still hear women saying, “I deserved to get hit” in this feminist age and men being silent about physical abuse because “are you man enough?”

The other aspect is physical neglect- where you grew up with nothing. That could be as a result of poverty or just parents who, among different ways to show you they didn’t want you, didn’t give you much. You’ll have a delayed ability to learn, and poor social skills and emotional health, and in some cases, issues such as severe dissociative states. The baseline is that physical abuse and neglect stunt the brain. And then you expect this person to function well in society. Well! Next time that tout with second-grade education from the village who was born out of wedlock talks shit to you, take a chill pill. They are not okay.

Emotional abuse and neglect: Emotional abuse is prevalent. About 40 percent of people on the average report having experienced expressive aggression or some form of coercive control. And surely, there are some people saying, “It hardened us.” That is not being hardened. That is emotional trauma, and you’d rather be cold and angry instead of facing your childhood pain. So please, miss me with that. We have a lot of angry people on this planet, and if I was to guess, it has to do with psychological abuse they’ve experienced in the hands of their guardians, relatives, teachers, and peers. So how does this not mess you up?

Another form of psychological abuse that exists is emotional neglect. This one is hard to show because you don’t have the typical “my mother called me” and “my dad did.” In this type of neglect, nothing happened. That is a huge problem. What are the long term effects? Your self-esteem and emotional health are damaged. You grow up feeling empty, and you’re unable to handle your emotions. Words are powerful. Silence is deafening and destructive.

Think of it this way. When you’re in a fight with someone, and then they go quiet, what does that signal to you? Think of all the agonizing thoughts you experience during that time. Now, as a child, when you have parents that emotionally neglect you, it signals to you that, as a human being, you don’t matter. It also says that your emotions don’t matter. Now send that child out into the world.

(This phone generation: be hella careful what you’re teaching your children.)

Sexual abuse: A messed up fact that I came across was that if you were sexually abused as a child, there is a 60+ percent chance of re-victimization. What happened to you as a child is not enough; you’re also likely to get raped when you’re older.

That one pained me on a personal level. But the math made sense. Unless you go for therapy, you tend to downplay dangerous situations as compared to other people. Maybe next time you’ll have more compassion for that chick hanging out questionable characters? The global stats are that 1 in 3 women will be sexually abused in their lifetime. She could be that one in the three, dear. Be kind.

What are all these a recipe for?

Say your grandpa has diabetes, your dad does as well. The odds are that you too, will get it. However, that doesn’t have to be the case with early intervention. And that’s the thing people need to understand. If your child has been through something traumatic, take them to therapy. ASAP.

Now, let’s assume you do nothing and boom, you have diabetes. That’s the same with mental illness. If you have a predisposition to get it, and the environment is “right,” you’ll suffer from it. For others, you’re born with it; you could have the rosiest of upbringings and still have a mood disorder.

Now, here’s where things just get murky. Research after research suggests that the factors I’ve talked about cause changes in the brain function, and also specific neural circuits in the brain get altered. Case in point; neural circuits for the ordinary person have no issues producing happy hormones. The rest of us, we need medication to rewire those neural circuits to even think life has the potential to be a happy place.

So the brain circuitry is off. Manifestation of the same is changes in appetite, sleep, concentration, energy levels, daily routine, mood and even self-esteem. There will be physical and behavioral symptoms. The results? The DMS5 has a full list of mood disorders that you can check out.

Bottom line: There is no singular cause of mood disorders. It’s a combination of a couple of things that scientists are still working to figure out.

~~~~~

Frustrated and misunderstood.

If you’re in this space, here are some things that might help you through. They have for me.

  1. You didn’t ask for this. Don’t let your mood disorder be a millstone around your neck that drowns you with guilt and shame.
  2. If they haven’t been through it, they won’t get it. It’s not their fault. It just means you need to either find your tribe or make peace. It doesn’t also mean you have to isolate yourself either.
  3. Get help where you can. As long as it helps you heal your childhood trauma and cope, go for it.
  4. Don’t let anyone tell you how your wins should look like. Did you get out of bed? Celebrate! Did you survive a social function? Yay! Did you say no to booze this one time? By the way, you’re doing well. Only you know your struggles intimately and can see when you’re improving. Don’t let others make recovery markers for you.
  5. A LOT of your pain resides in childhood. If you continue to ignore that by the way, you’re not going anywhere. Denial can only take you through life for so long. Face and heal that part of your life.
  6. READ. READ. READ. LIKE DAMN IT! READ! You have information at literally your fingertips. Google imposter syndrome, depression, constant butterflies in my stomach. If it’s too much, incognito is your friend. Search “why I hate my parents so much?” or “why do I date bitches or assholes” and “why do I always think about sex?” Ignorance about our ways in this time and age is almost offensive.
  7. Self-awareness and moral courage; these are the two pillars you need. Always.

Take away

Next time you’re tempted to tell a friend who’s told you they have a mood disorder to cheer up, google on appropriate ways to support them. Otherwise, silence is also a plan, but understanding would be better.

Here’s why; they haven’t killed themselves. You guy, they have tried. THEY. HAVE. TRIED.

Cheers.

Advice of a semi-healed complainer

*semi because I am not familiar with perfection.

I think my spiral into crisis began when I asked a few of my friends how much and how often I complain. That was in 2016, I think. I remember I was laying on the guestroom bed taking a break from ironing the mountain of clothes our household produces.

Yes. We iron our clothes before hanging them.

The responses were honest, and the truth was that I complained a lot. It was about things typically complained about. But there’s one response from a then-close friend that had be rethinking my life. She said, plainly, 5/5 was my score. That was followed by exclamation marks.

That legit stopped me in my tracks because what close friend calls you out like that? To her credit, she was right. Looking back, I complained more than I realized and nothing seemed to be going right in my life. Looking back I pushed away a lot of people because of that. So if you left my life for that reason (among others) that was the right call.

I was hella toxic.

~~~~~~

Now I blue tick people and block them when I catch a whiff on nonsense in my inbox.

If you did that to me, I seriously get it.

~~~~~~

Yes! You saw it coming!

THERAPY!!!

So, the thing about therapy, at least if you’re serious about getting better, is that you can’t stay in the same place. You can’t talk about the same thing each session. You talk about it, come up with a solution and MOVE THE FUCK ON. If it comes up again, that’s okay, you slipped up. Now, let’s find another strategy. But one thing is consistent; falling forward.

SO, I have been falling, a good one, but forward. And no, those weren’t my words. I have smart analytical friends.

~~~~~~

Nowadays, I will be in the middle of something or a conversation, and my mind goes quiet. No activity, no noise, no thoughts, just quiet.

This silence used to worry me. I have a pal, observant as HELL (and also smart and analytical), who can tell when my attention shifts. It usually when mind has gone quiet and I’m trying to figure out what the hell is going on in there. Like what the hell are those thoughts up to! Apparently I have this look in my eyes that I’ve checked out. I am present, listening, but there is me wondering…

Until it hit me this hot afternoon in a bus to town. At Globe to be specific.

That is how normal minds work.

When you ask someone what they are thinking about and they say nothing?

That in all my years of life has never been the answer. Even when interacting with people, my mind was always as loud as the busiest and noisiest part of town. So you can understand why I was so confused!

THE MEDS ARE WORKING!!!!!!!

~~~~~~

So Wambaire, what does your journey to sanity have to do with complaining?

~~~~~

If you complain about something more than once, change it.

If you can’t, shut up about it. At most, talk about it with close friends, but even then, don’t wear them the fuck out with the same thing.

If you can’t changing it, ALSO, find a coping mechanism.

If you can’t find one, and that thing is legit consuming you, see a counsellor.

PLEASE.

And not because I’ll be one soon… hehehe! But no, seriously. Please. Even if it’s one session.

From a former semi-healed complainer, counselling legit works.

Thank you and have a Merry and Thankful Christmas!

(How it was once a pagan holiday we’ll discuss another day…)


Cheers.

Joker: a reflection of reality we don’t want to see

If you’ve never read about depression, please go here. If you have a general idea, please click here. If you don’t have depression and you think you know what depression is, click here. If you are depressed, click here. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, click here.

When you’re done, please come back to this post.

~~~~~

*spoilers ahead.

I made the error of watching Joker a second time yesterday.

I am not okay.

~~~~~

Mental health.

Mental illness.

Craziness.

Crazy

~~~~~

After watching it, I told my close friend that I was ashamed.

I am on medication. I hear these are “baby” medications from people who equally battle more complicated manifestations of mental illness. I know someone with a combination of stronger medications to keep them, at the very best, okay. There is the occasional pill popped when an anxiety episode kicks in.

I have a father who pays for my medication because I can’t afford insurance. He also pays for the psychiatrist visits and to see the counselor. These services are not cheap in Kenya, or anywhere for that matter. Because, mental health.

So, how dare I, who’s getting help, talk about mental health?

~~~~~

The devil is a liar.

If you don’t believe in him, then tell those thoughts in your head to sod off if you are in a position to get the help you need.

Don’t be an ungrateful human. Speak your truth. We need more of you. How else will people know there’s hope??!

~~~~~

Joker. I could relate with him. I could ABSOLUTELY relate with him. I have mentioned here I was in a psychiatric ward (post on this another day), and even after, before the meds kicked in, I remember going for my appointment two months later and telling the psychiatrist that I talked to myself out loud one time when walking to the stage in response to this whole scenario I had created in my head.

It was once, but when it happened I panicked. I was officially going mad. Remember that scene where it hits him that the love affair he was having was a delusion?

That movie triggered me.

I get when he killed who he did. The difference between he and I is my mental illness being diagnosed early and medicated. I have heard of a woman taken to Mathere after killing her husband during a psychotic episode. A few months later she got to go home. I’ve had someone close to me in the same institution.

~~~~~

I was ashamed that I have access to the resources and support that I have.

But now, I am thankful. I am thankful to the God and the forces that be for the support I have.

And from this gratitude, I will shed the light.

Mental illness is not a podcast. It is not an interview. It is not a hashtag. It is not what your favorite celebrity has. It is not to be packaged and it is not bite-size.

It is the brain working against you. And that, is the scariest shit there is on this planet. Look at a child with leukemia being positive, and loving and full of joy. Their mind, spirit and soul are aligned and they have peace despite their pain. Mind blowing and admirable. They have an anchor. But when you mind is ill, you have nothing.

Nothing.

Picture yourself having nothing to hold to.

That’s why Arthur Fleck lost it.

And I get him.

Because, what good was keeping his shit together?

~~~~~

Get help.

PS: I am African. I am Kenyan. I am a woman. I KNOW mental illness is stigmatized. But speak, I will.

“You made me feel-” and other lies we tell ourselves

“The people who trigger us to feel negative emotion are messengers. They are messengers for the unhealed parts of our being” —Teal Swan.

No one can make you feel.

Pause and read that again.

Now, let’s proceed. I came across this quote in 2016 there about, and it was during a time of my life where complaining was a hobby. There was always something wrong with my life, with the people around me, with my work- just everything.

During the end of 2016 I got into- calling it a relationship would be a tall order. Let’s just call it a “mistake”. And boy was I triggered!!! Everyday it seemed like this ninja would do something to set me off or hurt me. It’s when I came across the quote by Teal Swan and in a span of 3 months I had grown so much that I cut the relationship off.

The hangups took a while longer, but it’s safe to say that’s a closed chapter. What. I am human.

The reality was, I was the one feeling those feelings. He might have triggered them, but I had to take responsibility of my emotions. So I’d ask myself, ‘What wound do you have that makes his words/actions feel like salt?”

Side note: Emotional abuse can be subtle. But I changed so much just by being with this guy and dealing with my wounds that even my taste in men changed. Since then, I’ve dated some really decent guys.

~~~~~

I’ve been called heartless, and while I think it is a genetic condition from my father’s side (LOL!), I’d like to think of myself as someone who largely has learned to handle their emotions especially given my history. When sober 😁

Note: I am not talking about my mornings and my random mood swings. I am not a morning person and my hormones are everywhere. 😅

If I snap, it’s because I have assessed my emotions, there is no wound, and you’re just being to tool. And there, I will put you in your place. That’s a given. Or just ignore you and act like you never existed in the first place. Again, it’s that genetic condition.

That said, I can say I’ve been legit hurt very few times in the past three years. Hurt in the sense that I am unable to get over whatever it is. And even then, I sit down and think about it until the pain is gone.

~~~~~

I like to think of pain as teachers. Salt only hurts you when you have an open wound, and even then, it’s a cleansing agent.

~~~~~

Next time you want to blame someone for making you feel a certain type of way, be a grown up about it and own your emotions, yes? After, sit, locate the wound and heal. From there, your actions will flow from a place of wholeness that even the person who triggered you will fall back.

Growth baby, growth.

PS: Same principles apply when you feel hurt by God.

Someone needed to read that.

PPS: I’m not a pro at this. So please don’t come after me when I write a triggered post on social media!!!

Also, therapy works.

Cheers.

The voices in your head

Therapy works.

Moving on.

I’ve been seeing a counselor for more than a year now, and I realize that most of the voices in my head were other people’s voices that I had internalized.

I’ve had an incredibly good week where I have nothing to complain or be sad about, all thanks to the unpacking of the negative voices in my life. I realize that they come in the subtlest of ways, and from the most unlikely people. For me, I realize that I generally come from a toxic clan, and as I continued to seek therapy, I realized that a lot of my insecurities and pains come from them. The rest is just my foolishness.

So before you think you are crazy, or believe the voices in your head, look at the people around you. What are they saying about you? Is there a similarity with your inner voice?

Beloved, you’re not a horrible human being. Someone made you believe you are and you lived up to their ideal.

Find your way back to the true you.

Cheers.